Heart and Soul
DESOLATION / THE SWEETEST FEELING / I REMEMBER THAT TIME / I REMEMBER THAT TIME DUB / AND SOME MAY SAY / PLAINSONG DUB / THROUGH THE MIST AND UP THE MOUNTAIN DUB / ETERNAL WANDERER / APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN DUB / TAKE ME HOME DUB / DUST BOWL DUB / LORD KEEP ME DUB / AS DAWN BREAKS OVER LONDON / WHATEVER HAPPENS / I'D LOVE TO TAKE YOU / I'D LOVE TO TAKE YOU VERSION / HEART AND SOUL
Running Time: 54:55 mins
review by Scott
M, April 2007
© 2007 Fodderstompf.com / F&F Publishing
Wobble's music has never been as 'off-the-wall' as the
music press would have you believe, he's always had a finely tuned
pop sensibility; and this new album for the legendary Trojan Records
proves the point perfectly.
Musically comparable to last years 'Alpha-One-Three', 'Heart and Soul' features smooth reggae topped with fuzzy warbles. Crafted pop that sounds nothing like pop music. At least not any pop music we are over-exposed to these days.
Of course, with Wobble it's not that straight forward, beneath the smooth exterior is a dark centre. Many of the lyrics on 'Heart and Soul' are hugely personal. No doubt partly inspired from work on his forthcoming autobiography. They include harsh, brutally honest accounts of his slide into alcoholism and his attempts to duck and dive.
"Although I walk
in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil…"
The deceptive 'I Remember That Time' with its mentions of a "punky, reggae party" is not a nostalgic yearning for the punk days; as if! Instead it's a look back at the crippling Thatcher years. Full of thinly veiled drug references which place Wobble's mind-set at the time.
'As Dawn Breaks Over London'
is a tired, desperate, longing to escape the grip of drink and drugs;
and sounds more than just another empty promise… 'Whatever
Happens' takes the story into the first steps of sobriety; and
gives a nod and a wink to a familar Wobble bassline that helped mark
an upturn in fortune…
It's not all doom and gloom, far from it, you only have to look at the artwork to see that! 'Heart and Soul' is an uplifting album. Wobble has always had a skill of mixing light with dark. The upbeat, appropriately titled 'The Sweetest Feeling' – a duet with Clea Rose from the English Roots Band – has a smooth soulful, almost Portishead feel. Which is probably why Trojan picked it as a download-only iTunes single. Though, the album's opener 'Desolation' could easily have been another contender. The thundering rhythm and prophetic "Desolation seems to be the state of the nation…" vocal hook is classic Wobble.
Apart from some additional guitar from Chris Cookson this really is the Jah Wobble solo show; including production, mixing and engineering. His trademark musical sounds are all here. The looping basslines are complimented with sub-electronic beats and synths; laced with steel and electric guitar, Eastern mantras and melodica. All wrapped in a warm dubby production. The brittle 'Eternal Wander' with its mandolin strings and unsettling thin vocal is the black sheep of the family; but certainly a highlight.
The album also features some great dub versions of the vocal tracks including 'I Remember That Time', 'I'd Love To Take You' & 'Desolation' (Heart and Soul). While, 'Lord Keep Me Version Number Three' is a reprise of 'On The Right Road' from 'Alpha-One-Three'. Other notable instrumentals include 'Plainsong Dub' and the mammoth 'Through the Mist and Up the Mountain Dub'.
This is Wobble's second album for Trojan and like its predecessor 'Mu' it's a grower. However, it's tighter and more focused; and has far more in common with 'Alpha-One-Three'. Fitting neatly into this recent Wobble triptych.
Lastly, in a recent interview with The Times Wobble made a point of scorching (sorry) the notorious Karl Burns story, apparently it was little more than an LSD fuelled live re-enactment of Space Invaders (well that explains that then!). Sounds like it might have been another drug laden "punky, reggae party", but maybe we'll have to wait for the book for the whole story…
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